Daily Archives: January 6, 2010

Rekindling the Dream

Dear Stephen King, (Not that you’ll ever read this letter, unless I print it off and mail it using old fashioned snail mail.)
I read On Writing years ago when it first came out, and I loved it. I loved it so much I lent it to a student and never saw it again, but that was okay because I “got it.” I loved your story and your advice, but I didn’t really need it. Back then I was a relatively new writer. I had several manuscripts out, several requests, several requests for revisions. I was young and sure of myself and my place in this world. I was a writer, and nothing could shake that.
Flash forward a decade, and much has changed. Multiple rejections and life have a way of interfering with writing plans.
Last year I didn’t exactly give up on the dream, but I didn’t work it either. I read. A lot. And I fiddled around with a couple stories I’d finished but not submitted. When life came crashing down making it impossible to attend my writer’s group meetings, I didn’t really care. Going just made me feel like a fraud anyway.
And then for some reason, I bought On Writing from Audible and started listening to it every day on my way to work—a place I love, a place where I spend hours sharing my love for words with students, hoping they too will love writing and books and paper and ink and everything that is wonderful about the craft.
Listening to On Writing truly did change my life. One day I found myself on my ten minute commute from one side of Wichita Falls, TX to the other bawling my eyes out as you talked about the craft. I’m not sure exactly what you said. I think it was “Kill your darlings.” I just know as you spoke, I realized somehow, over the course of ten years, I’d let the dream die. Not fizzle, not fade. Die. And then you said something about writing for the words, for the story, not for the publication. And I realized I can’t NOT write. It makes me crazy. Destroys my spirit. HURTS.
So I’m writing, really writing, new words, new people, new everything.
And I’m in a room in the back of my house with the door closed.
Thank you for On Writing. I see that it’s a considered a new classic. I’ve got to say I couldn’t agree more.

Stephen King's On Writing changed my life. You should read it!